Tick Infestation Facts & Tick Control in New York & Beyond
New York Tick Control
Signs of a Tick Infestation
Ticks are infamous transmitters of various dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia. Unfortunately, they are common across the U.S. including New York. While ticks live in New York City, most cases of tick-borne disease are contracted in grassy or wooded areas upstate or in Long Island.
We’ll help you identify different species of ticks in New York, learn what a tick bites looks like and how to best keep ticks away.
What Does a Tick Look Like?
Ticks are flat tear drop-shaped arachnids. They are related to mites and spiders and have eight barbed legs that can climb or hook onto nearly anything. Engorged ticks that have recently had a blood feast will be round or bean shaped.
- Size: Varies from ⅛ inches to ¼ inches depending on species. Engorged ticks may look larger or rounder.
- Color: Brown, red-brown, or tan bodies varying in shade from light to dark. Engorged ticks often appear darker.
What Do Tick Bites Look Like?
When a tick bites you, they cement their hooked mouths beneath your skin and siphon your blood until they are full. This video explains tick bites in detail.
Ticks generally suck blood around the ankles, armpits, underarms, ears, or scalp. You may find the tick burrowed into your skin, or you may see a swollen, red welt. This welt may itch or hurt. Ticks may also latch onto pets around the eyes, paws, shoulder blades, lower legs, noses, or ears.
After a week, some tick bites may develop a “bullseye” rash with and outer ring. This can sometimes be a sign of Lyme disease infection, though not all ticks care the Lyme bacteria.
How to Remove a Tick
If you’ve discovered a burrowed tick on you, remove it quickly but carefully. Grasp the tick as close to the head where it's attached as possible. If you squeeze the tick's abdomen or body while you're detaching, you risk leaving the head embedded. Pull back gently but firmly until the tick is dislodged. Wash and clean the bite thoroughly using antiseptic and germicide.
Save the tick in a plastic bag or on a piece of tape. If you develop any symptoms of tick-borne illness, a medical professional can test the tick. Even if they do find infection, the tick may not have been embedded long enough to transmit it to you.
Symptoms may include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle or joint pain
- Fever/ chills
Behavior and Diet
Ticks are infamous for feeding on the blood of a wide variety of mammals. They hunt for prey by “questing” or climbing to elevated positions via tall grass, brush, leaves, or low branches. From this position, they can grab hold of, crawl, or drop onto prey passing nearby. The hooked barbs on their legs allow them to attach quickly.
Ticks are active throughout the spring, summer and fall but they dislike excessive heat. They're most active during mild springs and early summers. Prey preferences and hunting habits vary by specific species, food availability, environment, and weather. Ticks are largely opportunistic hunters.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Ticks complete four development stages in their lifetime: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. This full cycle typically takes two years, but hot weather may expedite it. Ticks must consume a blood meal to pass into each different life stage after feeding--even when they're in larval form.
Eggs take three weeks to two months to hatch. Newly hatched larvae can feed immediately. They will latch onto prey and feed for 3 to 9 days until engorged. After feeding, larvae molt into nymph, which eventually molt into adults after another blood meal. Adults typically feed one last time then lay eggs and die.
Species of Ticks
Scientific Order: Acari
Common Family: All ticks fit into one of two main families: hard ticks (family Ixodidae) and soft ticks (family Argasidae). All common species of ticks in New York are hard ticks.
Common Species in New York:
- Deer (or blacklegged) tick (Ixodes scapularis)
- American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
- Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)
- Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma Americanum)
Keep Ticks Away
When spending time outdoors, follow these steps to minimize your risk of tick bites:
- Wear long pants and long sleeves.
- Tuck pants into socks.
- Wear light-colored clothes.
- Treat clothing with Permethrin.
- Use a repellent like Deet.
- Avoid tall grass and bushes.
At home, keep ticks out of your yard by:
- Mowing lawn regularly.
- Removing leaves and brush.
- Limiting high shade areas.
- Building natural barriers along wooded areas with mulch or gravel.
- Having a professional tick treatment.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ticks Page(with pages on each common species of tick, including blacklegged ticks, brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, etc.)
- New York City Health’s Ticks “Health Topics”page
- National Pesticide Information Center Ticks and Tick Bites Pest Control Informationpag
Tick Control in New York
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